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Is thinking about energy bills just too stressful? New research finds stress caused by energy switching research makes consumers quit the process

Customer experience specialist Experience Insight has conducted research into levels of stress experienced by consumers when trying to switch utility providers – and the results show that it’s the research itself that presents the biggest hurdle.

Experience Insight has developed a unique process using scientifically proven techniques to identify the moments that stop people buying; they call these moments ‘Tripping Points’. The process uses psychology, physiology and neuroscience to measure levels of stress when the tripping points occur. The resulting data - The Tripping Point Index - provides an objective measure of how much stress an average customer experiences at each tripping point.

A Tripping Point Index was formulated specifically for energy supplier switching and the resulting consumer research revealed some compelling insights - most notably that participants reached their peak level of stress during the research phase and principally when they were asked how much they currently pay for energy.

The results indicated that almost all of the participants would have abandoned the process at this peak stress point.  “A tripping point, such as the clear peak of stress that we saw in this experiment, is very common in all customer journeys and, in some cases, is just too great for the majority of consumers to overcome,” said Tim Routledge, Chief Experience Officer at Experience Insight.  “Clearly people don’t like thinking about their energy expenditure – whether it’s the amount, the hassle of looking for energy bills or just giving away personal information, the stress it causes is enough to make consumers quit the process, even though they know they may make significant savings if they continue.”

For the purposes of the research participants were tasked with continuing the process to at least the point at which they were offered a saving, and potentially on to actually switching their energy supplier.

The research showed that once participants overcame their primary tripping point, their stress levels returned to normal and most found the process of switching energy supplier remarkably simple; nearly 50% of participants then chose to switch their energy suppliers.

“Despite the cost saving benefits of switching energy suppliers the number of consumers actually doing this has been less than 5% annually; our research reveals one of the main reasons for this. It’s clear that if consumers are to be encouraged to switch their energy suppliers, some major changes must be made to the research process.” said Routledge.


Notes for Editors

  • Experience Insight is a consultancy dedicated to customer experience, founded in 2012 by Tim Routledge
  • Experience Insight uses psychology, physiology and neuroscience to understand and improve customer experience
  • Experience Insight is the first specialist customer experience agency to offer objective, scientific analysis of customer experience
  • Experience Insight has developed a process using scientifically proven techniques to identify the moments that stop people buying –  Experience Insight calls these moments ‘Tripping Points’
  • Customers rarely recall ‘tripping points’ and often drop out of the buying process without a conscious understanding of why. A survey question will produce a rationally-filtered response that may have little or no bearing on the actual cause.”
  • Tripping Point Index is the result of ten years collaborative research with one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers and a variety of academic and research institutions. The resulting implementation programme is producing an increase in turnover of over 20% with higher margins and significantly improved customer satisfaction.
  • Experience Insight is embarking on a research project with the University of Reading School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences, headed by Professor Laurie Butler

For further information please contact:

Jane Herbert


020 8334 0200